An Open Letter to Members of the PhotoBridge Forum from Roku's CEO
There have been questions and controversy about the discontinuation of PhotoBridge HD1000 and HD1500. I want to try to address them in this letter.
First let me review the current status of PhotoBridge. Roku has officially discontinued the HD1000/HD1500 models. They are no longer in production. The current release of 2.0 software (available for download on www.rokulabs.com
) which was in â€œbetaâ€ is now the final software update for these platforms.
We have not discontinued the PhotoBridge line of products. We are working on new PhotoBridge models. We have not officially announced these yet and have not committed to any particular release date. That said, it is likely that the first product from this development effort will launch in late summer. In order to set your expectations correctly, please do not assume our new models are an â€œHD2000â€. Instead, we have identified key markets that were buying PhotoBridge, for specialized uses in some cases, and are creating products targeted at those specific markets.
Because there have been so many assumptions, accusations, and discussion (much incorrect) on this topic I want to give you a little bit of the history and the reasons we have made these decisions.
During the production of the HD1000 it became apparent that our contract manufacturer had problems. This caused us to seek out new manufacturing partners. Over the last year or so, as we created new models of our products, we have switched our production over to two new subcontract factories. Unfortunately the original HD1000 contract manufacturer continued to degrade to the point where they could no longer build the HD1000. One of the main reasons it took us so long to announce the discontinuation of the HD1000 was that we hoped to get it back in production. However, after some time it became apparent that this was just not practical. Because the product is based on â€œoldâ€ technology (it was designed in 2002/3 and some key parts are no longer made) we decided the appropriate use of our finite resources would be to create new updated designs. This is what we are doing. Because we donâ€™t have the staff to continue to maintain the old design and work on the new design, we are now just focused on the â€œnewâ€.
PhotoBridge HD1000 was and in many ways still is the most advanced and best designed â€œdigital media adaptorâ€ on the market. It won all major head-to-head reviews. But itâ€™s not perfect, and we all have ideas on how to make it better. I know that, like us, many of you would like Roku to continue to develop the HD1000 software, adding new features and fixing limitations. However, this is just not financially possible. Roku is a small company with hardworking, talented, and dedicated people. But the consumer products market is brutally competitive, and we never made money on the HD1000. We learned a lot, however, and think by focusing our limited resources on new updated versions targeting the right market segments, the line will become profitable for us.
I have received some questions about the SDK and our plans to support third party developers. It is an important part of our strategy to continue development of our PhotoBridge APIs and to support our talented developer community. However, with our new products you will see some big changes in the way our APIs work â€“ hopefully for the better.
I hope this helps clarify for you the status of the PhotoBridge product line, our plans, and the reasons behind our decisions. I know some of you wonâ€™t agree, and I apologize to those of you with unmet expectations, but I am confident this is the right direction.
Founder & CEO